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Neuroreport. 2003 Dec 19;14(18):2303-6.

Cortical processing of musical consonance: an evoked potential study.

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Center for Integrated Human Brain Research, Brain Research Institute, University of Niigata, Japan.


Cortical processes underlying perception of musical consonance were investigated by long-latency auditory evoked potentials (EPs). Subjects listened to a random sequence of dyadic pure tones paired at various pitch intervals (1, 4, 6, 7, or 9 semitones). Amplitudes of P2 and N2 components of auditory EPs were significantly modulated by pitch interval of the dyads, being most negative for 1 semitone (minor second) and least negative or most positive for 7 semitones (perfect fifth). The results indicate that neural processing of consonance depend not only on peripheral mechanisms in the inner ear but also on higher associative processing of pitch relationships in the cerebral cortex.

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